SAL Launches its own fleet of refrigerated vans

In September 2012, the SAL business took delivery of its fleet of new refrigerated vans. This significant investment demonstrates the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and continued drive to deliver an added value service.

In SAL’s experience, the use of commercial couriers, however effective they are, will always involve a compromise. Although most will do their best to manage the particular nuances that are brought about by trying to manage the logistics of transporting labile Laboratory samples with no intrinsic value across the UK, most regularly fail on a number of counts.

Having to fit collections and deliveries of such relatively low volumes of consignments from our Laboratory around the significantly larger volumes of much bigger multinational companies is a major problem. Collection windows were often quite restricted and the service quite inflexible.

In addition, the sizes and dimensions of cool boxes can be a problem on conveyor systems built to accommodate routinely sized cardboard boxes and third party warehouse staff have no real appreciation of the value or fragility of each consignment. This often led to loss of consignments and sample breakages.

Having our own fleet of courier vans means that our clients’ samples and our clients’ samples alone are prioritised. Not only that, they can be handled with the due care and attention they demand by our team of trained drivers. Collection and delivery windows are more flexible and can easily be made out of normal office hours with prior arrangement.

All of our vans are fitted with satellite navigation and tracking devices so our team of logistic coordinators can ensure the most economically viable routes are chosen. Each van is fitted with a hands free kit, allowing our drivers to be permanently contactable for up to the minute route modifications if necessary.

All our vans are temperature controlled to 5+/-3oC ensuring samples are received to the laboratory in pristine condition and reducing the potential of labile samples and parameters becoming deviant whilst in transit.

When samples are collected via a commercial courier, they are transported back to a central localised hub, usually on the evening of the day of collection. The next day after unloading and sorting, they are transferred to another van and delivered mid morning to the laboratory. Samples collected by our drivers never leave our possession and are transported directly to the laboratory of interest so processing can commence immediately. This enables us to provide ‘cradle to grave’ tracking via our chain of custody system from the point at which your samples are collected, to delivery at the Lab and ultimately to the point at which data is delivered.

Currently, the fleet covers most parts of the UK and over the forthcoming months, will continue to expand its coverage.

Since commencing this service in September 2012, SAL has:

  • Received over 100,000 samples
  • Had < 0.005% sample breakages
  • Had no failed collections or deliveries

The best part? In most circumstances, this service is completely free of charge and part of the value added service that is typical of SAL.

To take advantage of this unique service and arrange a courier collection, please contact your local SAL office between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Ideally, as much notice as possible is required to arrange collections. Our routine collections & deliveries will be made within a 2 hour window, Mon – Fri, 9am – 4pm. However, collections & deliveries can be made outside of these times (including weekends and bank holidays) with prior arrangement.

For guaranteed same day collections, the cut off for requests is 12 noon on the day of collection. Although we will do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee same day collections received after this time.

For more information or to discuss your individual requirements, please contact your local laboratory or contact us online.